Mr Wilson (10:42am) — Every week my office takes on new cases that emerge from the torrent of issues generated by the Centrelink system, which is in crisis. The cases are new; the issues are well worn. They typically include people trying to receive the age pension, youth allowance or Newstart allowance, or people trying to deal with requests for information or debt notices from the Department of Human Services.
It is a shame—and I say it is a scandalous shame—that no-one in the Liberal government or in Main Roads Western Australia had the bottle to say, to a tired and desperate government, 'Hold on a minute; after eight long years of nothing, surely this can wait until April.'
The truth is that cutting wages is the last thing we need when we face the related issues of rising inequality, flat productivity, and faltering growth. We do not need to reduce demand in the economy by cutting the spending capacity of those who have least, and who spend what they earn.
Last year demand in the WA economy shrank nearly eight per cent. We have the highest unemployment in the country. Underemployment is at the highest level ever recorded. Employment participation is at the lowest level ever recorded. We desperately need any investment in productive infrastructure, and from the Western Australian Liberals and from the coalition-Liberal combo we have had nothing—absolutely zero.
In Western Australia we copped the double whammy. We have had cuts to financial advice services from the Barnett government and we now have the Turnbull government intent on cutting a full third of existing funding to CLCs, even though this will do harm to both individuals and the budget bottom line. It is bad government, plain and simple.